Spec analysis: Switch OLED model - new display, old tech

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Eurogamer.net 07 July, 2021 - 11:47am 11 views

What is the Nintendo switch OLED?

The Nintendo Switch OLED edition is exactly that, a Nintendo Switch with a slightly bigger, brighter OLED screen as its main draw, combined with improved sound, larger base storage and a wired LAN port. ... The internals of this new Switch are identical to the current one, including the battery. ForbesWho Is The Nintendo Switch OLED Model For, Exactly?

Is the switch OLED the switch pro?

It's officially called the Nintendo Switch (OLED model), eschewing the rumoured Nintendo Switch Pro moniker. And it's quite an upgrade, offering a 7-inch OLED screen and enhanced audio. It will launch this October, nearly a year after the PS5 and Xbox Series X went on sale. What Hi-Fi?Nintendo Switch OLED: price, release date, specs and all the details

Can I preorder a Nintendo switch OLED?

Pre-order Nintendo Switch OLED Model in the US Product pages are now up on Best Buy and Gamestop, with the pre-orders due to become active soon. Nintendo LifeWhere To Pre-Order Nintendo Switch OLED Model

A missed opportunity to improve docked play.

After months of pent-up expectation surrounding the 'Switch Pro' and hopes of a new, improved machine, Nintendo finally revealed its new OLED model yesterday and it is effectively a product refresh with a higher quality screen, more storage and a revised dock. No promises are being made about any actual enhancements to the performance of the machine because there are none. The same 16nm+ version of the Tegra X1 found in current Switches also beats at the heart of the OLED model, so the end result is a machine that improves the quality of the handheld experience but does not address what is arguably the Switch's biggest drawback - the quality of docked play.

All of which raises the question of how the Switch Pro hype train kicked off in the first place, since reputable outlets with good sources seemed to indicate that an upgraded model with a new Nvidia processor was a done deal. At Digital Foundry, we pegged the new unit as being a product refresh a few months back (see the very first DF Direct for commentary) especially as the Atmosphere custom firmware team had revealed the existence of a revised Switch with a new screen but the same core spec back in January. Apparently, the machine - internally codenamed 'Aula' - first appeared in the Switch firmware with update 10.0.0, which went public in April 2020. The only real explanation I can suggest is that development of the OLED and the actual next-gen Switch got confused at some point, birthing the Switch Pro rumour.

In terms of how the new Switch evolves, Nintendo's strategy is to add to the existing family of consoles. For now at least, the original model remains, as does the handheld-only 'non-Switchable' Lite. The OLED model gains a higher grade, physically larger 7-inch screen, improved audio and a multi-position kickstand, along with a light sensor on top - presumably to help with auto-brightness adjustment. Overall dimensions are much the same, but the unit is very, very slightly wider and a touch weightier. Switch OLED is confirmed to work with older docks but gets a more refined rendition with an onboard LAN port. This new dock is available for purchase separately and also works with older Switch models but there is a drawback to it - you lose the internal USB port, while the two external USB 2.0 sockets remain.

John Linneman and Rich Leadbetter share their initial reactions to the Switch OLED model reveal.

In essence then, Switch OLED doubles down on the handheld experience that was already the strongest part of the package. The OLED screen should provide a bigger, much higher quality picture. We can confirm that there is no HDR functionality but in its comms with developers, Nintendo says that "OLED screen colours are more vivid". We can't judge the quality of the improved audio until we hear it, but Nintendo talks about "an improved sound pressure level" for the new model. The new kickstand - reminiscent of Microsoft Surface - certainly addresses a key problem from the original model, which had a stand so flimsy, it couldn't really be relied upon for stability on anything other than a rock-steady surface.

However, nothing in Nintendo's marketing materials describes anything other than standard Switch performance. The size of the battery remains the same at 4310mAh, battery life is described in terms that are identical to the existing standard Switch - 4.5 hours to nine hours, depending on the application. The Verge has a statement from Nintendo clarifying that "Nintendo Switch (OLED model) does not have a new CPU, or more RAM, from previous Nintendo Switch models."

The new machine does have more storage - 64GB of NAND compared to the original's 32GB, but beyond that, we now have complete confirmation that the internals are essentially unchanged. The same 16nm+ rendition of the Tegra X1 - codenamed 'Mariko' - is retained for the new model. In the current environment of severe semiconductor shortages, sticking with the existing silicon on what is now a relatively old production process should ensure that Nintendo can provide adequate volumes of the new machines in a world where its competitors are struggling, and make a decent profit on them too.

In theory, the new Switch could be overclocked to improve the fluidity of performance-challenged games - something we can test with homebrew mods to older systems.

So, for Nintendo and indeed game developers, the Switch OLED model is very much business as usual, to the point where the platform holder is telling game makers that no new development kits are essential for making games and there are no new technical requirements that require changing standard Switch iconography in-game to accommodate the new model. On top of that, games running on Switch OLED have no idea they are running on anything other than a standard unit - Nintendo's developer documents reveal that there is no way for their games to query the system, to figure out whether they are running on Switch OLED or not. With that said, the firm does recognise the need for developers to test their games on the new screen. With that in mind, a new ADEV development model is being made available to co-exist alongside the existing SDEV and EDEV versions. For reasons undisclosed by the Nintendo, this machine ships with 8GB of onboard memory compared to the 6GB in the other development models and the 4GB of all retail units.

With the Switch approaching four-and-a-half years in the market, it now seems almost certain that Nintendo will not deploy a mid-generation refresh in the mould of the DSi or the New 3DS and its offshoot models. With prior handhelds, the platform holder introduced new specs and the ability for developers to tap into extra horsepower, even if developer take-up for the extra power ended up being rather slight. That does not seem to be the case for its most modern machine. There has been disappointment that Switch OLED isn't Switch Pro - or features any performance advantages at all - and that is a shame because the longer this generation continues, the more obvious the machine's challenges as a docked home console become.

In one way, Nintendo's hybrid is a celebration of what's possible with a mobile chipset, one that is significantly under-clocked compared to its reference specs. We've seen feats on the 1.02GHz CPU that are extraordinary, while the GPU is relatively slow but is based on a relatively modern architecture, opening the door to many of the 'impossible ports' we've seen. Working in concert, games like Doom Eternal and The Witcher 3 have appeared running reasonably well on what is a six-year-old model chipset. However, while the machine holds up for handheld play, the docked situation looks fairly grim - with many games, sub-1080p, sub-720p and even lower resolutions just don't hold up on today's gigantic flat panels. There was much discussion of some kind of 4K upscaling for the new Switch, but it hasn't come to pass. Wired LAN port aside, there are no improvements for docked users whatsoever - and that is undoubtedly a missed opportunity.

What does RT Lego Builders Journey have to do with Switch? Well, we also cover the latest enhancements to DLSS too - which could be relevant to a future Switch.

With a new Nvidia chip ruled out, could the existing model have provided any form of improved performance for docked users? Absolutely, but not to a genuinely game-changing degree. Overclocking (or indeed underclocking) the Switch has been a component of the homebrew scene for years now, with system hacks able to boost CPU from its standard 1.02GHz to the full spec 1785MHz, while the docked clock of 768MHz can easily be boosted to 921MHz. On paper it's a 75 percent boost to CPU performance and a 20 percent uplift for the GPU. The 'Mariko' Tegra X1 graphics core can even run at 1.267GHz - a sizeable 65 percent improvement to the Switch spec. However, despite the presence of extra venting on the new dock, it seems unlikely that Nintendo will open up full performance to developers. In theory it is possible, but there's certainly nothing in the SDK to make it happen for game makers. And in truth, based on our overclocking tests, you gain extra stability and a cleaner picture on games that support dynamic resolution scaling, so while there is an improvement, it's not enough to comprehensively solve the docked play problem.

Of course, the truth is that only a fundamental redesign of the Switch itself can address this - something that does not really make business sense to Nintendo in the here and now, and would only cause headaches to developers in supporting a third performance profile. Any kind of smart upscaling solution capable of making truly low resolution images into something acceptable on a living room display requires new silicon, and while Nvidia DLSS has been mooted as a solution, this technology requires tensor cores baked into the hardware - and these are not present in Tegra X1. DLSS cannot work as a standalone 'add-in' chip in its current iteration, and neither can it be liberally applied to any game - it needs to be plumbed into the game engine.

And both factors, combined with Nvidia's recent improvements to DLSS, make the technology a better fit for an actual Switch successor based on more recent GeForce architecture. The potential is certainly mouth-watering. DLSS performance mode runs internally at a quarter of output resolution: 720p becomes 1440p, 1080p becomes 4K. The results aren't perfect, but would certainly work well on a TV viewed at range in living room conditions. DLSS ultra performance mode can actually scale 720p to 4K. Yes, there's a quality hit, but it works. DLSS or a technology similar to it is the missing piece of the puzzle for making docked play from a mobile chipset viable, but the reality is that this is next generation stuff. So, is this the actual Switch Pro that has been talked about for months now? Would it still be a Switch Pro - or should we start referring to it as Switch 2 or Super Switch instead?

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Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.

UPDATE: Ubisoft acknowledges project, Clint Hocking to lead one game team.

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A missed opportunity to improve docked play.

A missed opportunity to improve docked play.

"Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable."

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Here’s why the Nintendo Switch OLED model isn’t the ‘Pro’ of your dreams

Android Authority 09 July, 2021 - 11:09am

Nintendo fans are understandably a bit miffed. They wanted 4K support, and Nintendo didn’t deliver. They wanted faster processing, which also didn’t happen. Bluetooth audio, a simplified chat system, and significantly more internal storage were also on the wishlist, and they didn’t come to be.

If you only looked at what Nintendo didn’t add, you’d likely think the company is out of its mind. But when you stop thinking about the what-ifs and only look at what Nintendo did include with the Nintendo Switch OLED model, you can easily see the company’s strategy.

Related: Nintendo Switch buying guide: Everything you need to know

All in all, Nintendo really only updated five things with the OLED model as compared to the regular Nintendo Switch:

Other than a few other aesthetic differences, that list is what separates the regular ol’ Switch from the fancy new Nintendo Switch OLED model. It’s pretty obvious to see what Nintendo is doing here: it is primarily focusing on gamers who take their Switch off the dock and play in handheld mode. Aside from the Ethernet port, the major changes here are things mobile users will appreciate the most.

This strategy makes sense. Even if Nintendo could bring the Switch to support an 8K docked resolution with enhanced graphics and speeds, it would never be able to fully compete with a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. Nintendo consoles have never been about raw power anyway. Still, the Switch’s form factor immediately negates any attempt to compete on that level.

See also: The best Nintendo Switch accessories, from controllers to cases and more

Instead, Nintendo is focusing on the one major thing that the Switch can do that a PS5/XBSX can’t, which is to go mobile. That’s why this is the Nintendo Switch OLED model and not the Nintendo Switch Pro. The term “OLED” is in the name to specifically appeal to gamers who prioritize the Switch’s handheld mode. Likewise for the new kickstand and enhanced audio. The nominal increase in storage is basically a throwaway upgrade since 64GB is still a paltry amount, and the Ethernet port is a nice gesture. Still, it should have come with the original Switch anyway.

In other words, the Switch OLED model is for mobile gamers only. TV gamers need not apply.

Sony and Microsoft have both updated past consoles multiple times. The PlayStation 4 had an original version, a Slim version, and a Pro version before the PS5 came out. As such, it’s not completely out of the question that Nintendo could follow suit and launch a Nintendo Switch Pro in 2022 or 2023.

But now that the Nintendo Switch OLED model exists, we’re skeptical a Pro model would ever come to be. Just look at the numbers: the Nintendo Switch is already the company’s second-best-selling home console of all time, behind only the Nintendo Wii. It did that without releasing a new version (aside from the nominally upgraded model that came out in August 2019). Now that it has the OLED model, we expect Nintendo to ride the continuing sales wave and save any major upgrades for the inevitable Nintendo Switch 2 (or, as I hope it to be called, the Super Nintendo Switch).

See also: The best free Nintendo Switch games

With the Switch, Nintendo has video game gold. Even after four years on shelves, it can still be challenging to find a console for sale at its list price of $299. The company feels confident in taking its sweet time to release the major game titles we all want (Breath of the Wild 2, Metroid Prime 4, etc.) and has essentially paid the PS5 and XBSX no mind since 2020. Just look at how Nintendo launched the Switch OLED model: it posted a tweet! No press conference, no livestream, but a brief tweet to say, “Oh yeah, we’ve got this new version of the Switch coming out, in case anyone’s interested.”

The bottom line here is that Nintendo doesn’t need to release a Switch Pro. Why bother putting in the money and creating a next-level version of the console when people are still buying the old one to the point of supply deficiency? You might think Nintendo is crazy not to give its fans what they want, but you’ve gotta admit that it doesn’t seem to matter.

Nintendo Switch OLED is here with some mild upgrades

dlmag 07 July, 2021 - 12:17pm

It’s been years we’ve waited for the next version of the Nintendo Switch now finally it is here. The Nintendo Switch OLED model (yes that’s what it is called) is an upgraded Switch with an OLED display (predictably) and other upgrades that’ll keep handheld gaming lovers interested.

The original Switch was released way back in 2017 and lately, it had started to look a bit pre-historic with its huge bezels. This latest version wants to change the Switch’s perception with the thin bezel design, and it can be yours come October 18 for a price tag of $349.99.

The biggest difference is the multi-touch capacitive 7-inch OLED screen on the new version which is a major bump up from the 6.2 and 5.5-inch LCD screen on the Switch and Switch Lite. Unfortunately, the resolution is still stuck at 720p – meaning you’ll have to live with a compromised level of detail.

The kickstand has been upgraded in the new model as is it now much wider, spanning the whole length of the handheld console’s back. This gives it a sturdier stance and multiple viewing angles. It is a much-needed upgrade from the plastic kickstand of the older version that impressed none!

The dock on the console comes with a LAN port which is good for online play. Another noticeable design change is the option of an attractive white/black color scheme that extends to the Joy-Con controllers.

For gamers, the hardware matter and Switch OLED keeps that in mind with the 64GB onboard storage. The audio has also been enhanced in the latest version (via two front-firing speakers) for a more immersive feel. But another disappointment comes in the form of RAM and CPU which sees no upgrade and lack of 4K output is also dismal.  

The battery stays the same with around nine hours of playback time in the best-case scenario. As compared to the original Switch, this one is a bit heavier (0.71 pounds) and also slightly longer.  

Overall the Switch OLED is an acceptable upgrade but nothing like what the tech community was expecting. Some features are still missing which will disappoint Nintendo lovers, while some mindful additions are comforting though.

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Nintendo Switch OLED vs Nintendo Switch Lite: which Switch is right for you?

TechRadar 07 July, 2021 - 11:41am

Should you pick the Switch OLED over the Switch Lite?

We’re going to take a closer look at the Nintendo Switch OLED vs Nintendo Switch Lite in this head-to-head comparison, and hopefully help you decide which of Nintendo’s is right for you, and what the key differences are. 

There’s more to consider than merely price alone, as the Nintendo Switch OLED and Nintendo Switch Lite address different consumer needs. However, that doesn’t make the buying decision anymore difficult, so let’s compare and contrast the two models, shall we?

The Nintendo Switch OLED is set to cost $349.99 / £309 / AU$539 when it launches on October 8, 2021. It’s technically the fourth version of the Nintendo Switch console, as Nintendo refreshed the original model in 2019 with improved battery life and a more efficient CPU, along with the release of the Nintendo Switch Lite.

Nintendo Switch OLED pre-orders have now begun, so if you’re interested in picking up the updated Switch model on October 8, it’s best to reserve your console now.

The Nintendo Switch OLED looks almost identical to the original Switch console, with removable Joy-Con controllers, the same button layout, and the same Neon Blue and Red color scheme available – though it also has a classy new White option. The biggest difference is the console’s punchy OLED screen, which is 7 inches compared to the original’s 6.2-inch display, with significantly thinner bezels that give the device a more modern look while barely expanding the console's size and weight.

The Nintendo Switch OLED’s kickstand has also had an overhaul. It’s wider, more flexible, and should allow you to position the console in more angles during tabletop mode. The Switch OLED is equipped with better speakers, too, along with 64GB of internal storage – double the original.

Those who pick up the Nintendo Switch OLED will get access to a nicer-looking dock than the original, which features rounded edges and a built-in ethernet port for providing a more solid connection when playing online. Here’s what’s inside the Nintendo Switch OLED: 

The Nintendo Switch Lite is a different proposition. It forgoes the Switch OLED’s hybrid Joy Con-detaching nature in favor of being a handheld-only device, which gives it the enviable perk of being the only Switch with a dedicated D-Pad. You can’t display games on a TV, though, nor can you pop off the Joy-Cons. Its portable focus means it’s smaller in size, with a 5.5-inch display, which is 1.5-inches shorter than the Switch OLED. There’s a wider selection of case colors to choose from over the new Switch as well, including Gray, Turquoise, Yellow, Coral and Blue.

From a technical perspective, the Switch Lite is a match for the Nintendo Switch OLED, however, it doesn’t have as impressive battery life – averaging three to seven hours as opposed to 4.5 to 9 hours. 

Here’s what’s inside the Nintendo Switch Lite:

The good news is that both the Nintendo Switch OLED and Nintendo Switch Lite can play the entire library of Switch games available. Nintendo has noted that experiences with the Toy-Con accessories from the Nintendo Labo series may differ due to the Switch OLED’s larger screen, but that should be the only issue. 

It’s important to note that the Nintendo Switch Lite won’t let you experience games on the big screen, though, as it's strictly a handheld-only device. You can’t detach the Joy-Con for some multiplayer fun or to use motion controls, either, and its LCD screen won’t look as pleasing to the eye as the new OLED display. However, the Switch Lite is considerably cheaper and still a great way to play the latest Switch games. 

Another area where the Nintendo Switch OLED has a clear cut advantage over the Nintendo Switch Lite when it comes to games is that it has 64GB of internal storage as opposed to 32GB. That means if you like to download your games digitally from the Nintendo Switch eShop, you’ll have more room to play with. That being said, you can expand the storage of both Switch consoles thanks to the microSD card slot, which supports up to 2TB compatible cards. These tend to go for cheap, particularly during events like Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday, so it’s a negligible difference. 

Nintendo’s updated Switch OLED model will certainly be appealing to newcomers who want the very best Switch experience available, but the Nintendo Switch Lite is still a compelling proposition due to its cheaper price point and its more portable form factor. 

While you can’t go wrong with either model, the Switch OLED provides more flexibility, as you can play on the go or on the TV when docked. However, it won’t look any different than the original Switch when playing on the big screen, as Nintendo opted against a 4K output. Where it will shine, though, is in handheld mode thanks to the vibrant and bigger OLED display. 

The choice between the two consoles will tend to come down to how you expect to use your Switch. If you can’t picture yourself playing any other way than handheld and want a more compact form factor, the Nintendo Switch Lite may be the way to go. If you want to enjoy everything the Switch has to offer, though, including TV mode, handheld and tabletop mode, we’d recommend picking the pricier Nintendo Switch OLED. 

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